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which leads a rami to abhor the religion, to support which, he and his family are deprived of the necessaries of life.'? The only differences perceptible between the legislating in religious matters in New England, and particularly in the State of Connecticut, and in Great Britain, is, that in the former the people legislate: and in the latter, the government. As to which is best qualified to legislate on this momentous subject, there cannot be a doubt in the mind of any reasonable man. Yet it comes to the same thing: the one a republic ; the other a limited monarchy ; both legislating in matters of religion which these Memorialists so highly deprecate.
Bad, however, as the system of supporting religion is in New England, when compared to our own, still the benefit of legislating in religious matters, of supporting and upholding by law the worship of God, even in a manner comparatively defective, is clearly shewn, in contrasting the state of religion under legislative ordinances, with those where no such laws exist; and this will be perceived by the following quotations and remarks.
"In New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut," says Dr. Dwight, "the public worship of God has always been established by law. In these countries, what may be called parochial schools are evtery where established, and all the children are taught to read, write, and keep accounts. In Massachusetts and Connecticut, the great body of the inhabitants are carried to the church from the cradle to the grave. It is believed, that the happy influence of this important fact, in promoting the prosperity of the State, in preventing crime, and in establishing good order, is here evinced in the most satisfactory manner.
"All these things, except the establishing of public worship bv law, are, to a considerable extent, true of the other States described in these letters."
After lamenting the condition of the people in some of those States where religion has been left to the support ordiscretion of the people alone, and part of which has bjen quoted above, Dr. Dwight thus continues : " A New Englander passing through such settlements, is irresistibly struck with the wide difference between their inhabitants, and those of his own country. The scene is changed at once. That intelligence and sociality, that softness and refinement, which prevails even among the plain people of New England, disappear. That repulsive character, which, as Lord Kaimes has remarked, is an original feature of savage man; intelligence, bounded by the farm or market road which leads to it; affections so rarely moved, as scarcely to be capable of being moved at all, unless when roused to resentment; conversation confined to the properties and prices of a horse, or the sale of a load of wheat; ignorance at fifty years of age, of what is familiarly known by every New England school-boy; a stagnant indifference about all things—an entire vacancy of sentiment and a sterility of mind, out of which sentiment can never spring—all spread over the greater proportion of the inhabitants, make him feel as if transplanted to a distant climate, or travelling in a foreign country.
"New England presents a direct contrast to this picture. Almost the whole country is covered with villages; every village has its church and suit of schools, &c. &c. All the people are neighbours, social beings; converse, feel, sympathize, mingle minds, cherish sentiments, &c. &c."
"Education," says Mr. Duncan, in his Travels in America, " which prevails much more universally throughout the New England States, than in any other portion of the Union, and is frequently accompanied with religious instruction, has given the natives a very decided cast of national character, resembling in many respects that for which the Scots among Europeans, have been long distinguished."
"The inhabitants of the eastern district of the Union," says the same traveller, " have been known from the earliest periods of their history as a religious people. Taking them as a body, they were distinguished above most men then living by their attachment to pure doctrine, and upright practice. This purity of doctrine, already noticed, has been in parts of the country lost in Socinianism; but tlie State of Connecticut is, as yet, free from this contamination."—Pp. 74—77.
We have given these long extracts not only with a view to do justice to New England, but to defend the position which we have so long maintained respecting the necessity of an Established Church, and the evils of the voluntary system, by a reference to that country, where the two experiments have been tried, and one indubitably has been found wanting; and how better can we serve truth, which is our object, than by bringing, as it were, into one focus the scattered rays that lie over the surface of so many details—the result of the observation of Europeans who repeat what they see, and the opinions of Americans, who state nothing but what they know, and none can know so well as themselves!
We may conclude these observations, by giving the statement of Dr. Dwight, relative to the number of churches and ministers in the State of Connecticut, where religious worship is established, as contrasted with the number in the States south of New England, where the worship of God is not established by law; or in the words of the Glasgow Memorialists, the government does not legislate in religious matters; and the importance of the facts contained in it, will probably excuse the length of the extract.
In a letter, in which he defends the legal establishment of the Public Worship of God, he writes as follows: " Besides St. Paul, 1 Cor. xvi., has determined that a tax is the right and proper manner of doing all this" In the second verse he commands the Corinthians to ' lay by them somewhat,' as a contribution to the relief of their fellow-Christians; " every man as God had prospered them.' Between contributions for their fellow-Christians, and contributions for ministers, there is a moral difference. The contribution of a sum, in proportion to the prosperity God has given men, is a tax: for a tax is nothing but a regular and proportional contribution. This proportion cannot be established but by an authority; for except by authority, men cannot be required to render an account of their circumstances. Nor can any proportion approach so near to equity, as that which is formed under the direction of the legislature. Here then, the rule of St. Paul, the rule established by God, is as exactly pursued as it can be by human wisdom : and if it was a right rule in one ecclesiastical case, it is a rule equally right in every other."—Pp. 77, 78.
In the year 1800, there were in Connecticut, 251,002 inhabitants; and in the States south of New England, 40,33,775. The whole account, according to this estimate, will stand thus:
In Connecticut .
In the States)
south of New^ .. 430 242 160 81 33 4,033 7 7«
"In Connecticut, then, a sixteenth of the number of inhabitants form 209 congregations, and support 189 ministers of these congregations. Twenty were vacant, and five of the ministers were unsettled. In the States south of New England, sixteen times the number of inhabitants formed 430 congregations, of which 81 were pluralities, and 160 were vacant, or without ministers. The ministers supported and settled were 209. If these States contained congregations, and were supplied with ministers in the same proportion as Connecticut, the whole number of congregations would be 3344 (instead of 430); and the whole number of ministers settled and supported would be 3024 instead of 209. In this estimate," continues the Doctor, " we have a fair specimen of the natural consequence of establishing or neglecting to establish the public
VOL. XVII. NO. X. 4 H
worship of God, by the law of the land. In Connecticut, every inhabitant who is not precluded by disease, or inclination, may hear the gospel, and celebrate the public worship of God every sabbath. In the States specified, it is not improbable, that a number of people, several times as great as the census of Connecticut, have scarcely heard a sermon, or apruyer in their lives. Can any thing be more convincing than this, of the necessity of a State legislating in religious matters? Can any thing more be required to prove the absolute inadequacy of religious ministrations in a country where the inhabitants are left to find themselves in the means of hearing the word preached? That under that baneful system, a number of people, several times as great as the census of Connecticut, (say four times, would leave above a million of souls) who have scarcely heard a sermon or a prayer in their lives."
Here is a practical example to those men who wish to resign Christianity to the support of its friends among the multitude, and thus leave the thoughtless, the needy, and the avaricious, without a chance of profiting by the means which God may bless, such as is held out to every man by the establishment of religious worship by the law of the land. What will these Memorialists say to the above comparison? Will they argue that in Connecticut the cause of Christianity has been retarded in its progress by the government legislating in religious matters, and that it has advanced in those States where such legislation has been neglected? They may do so, but it will not be easy to make people believe them sincere. Dr. Dwight farther observes, " It is doubted whether there is a collection of ministers in the world, whose labours have been more prosperous, or under whose preaching a greater proportion of those who heard them, have become the subjects of real piety. I know of no country in which revivals of religion have been so frequent, or in proportion to the number of inhabitants, so extensive, as in these two States—(Massachusetts and Connecticut.) God, therefore, may be considered as having thus far manifested his approbation of the system. If at the same time we advert to the peace, the good order, the regular distribution of justice, the universal existence of schools, the universal enjoyment of the education which they communicate, and the extension of a superior education, it will be difficult for a sober man not to perceive, that the smiles of Heaven have regularly accompanied this system from its commencement to the present time. I need not, however, have gone any further for the illustration of this subject, than to a comparison of the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut. The former of these, independently of Providence, Newport, and two or three other small towns, is in all these important particulars a mere contrast to the latter. Yet these States were planted by colonies from the same nation, lie in the same climate, and are separated merely by a meridional line. A sober man who knows them both, can hardly hesitate, whatever may have been his original opinions concerning this subject, to believe that a legislature is bound to establish the public worship of God."
Thus speaks an American, and one of the ablest of her sons; and thus does he give the death blow to the statement of the Memorialists, that the cause of Christianity cannot fail to be retarded in its progress, and dishonoured by a government legislating in religious matters, which is the province of God, not of man.—Pp. 79—83.
It is time to draw our remarks to a close:—we have presented our readers with a statement collected from four different points of the compass of thought: from the light but still sensible remarks of a young English woman, who inspected society closely, and has revealed the secrets of the system which a grave American minister details at large: from the calm and dispassionate letters of a highly intelligent traveller, and the sound logical deductions and laborious quotations of a political controversialist. They all bear testimony tothe low state of religion, where not protected by the legislature, in the United States, and to the superior condition of New England, in consequence of religion being there protected by the legislature of that state. They all bear testimony to the fact, that morality and every virtue are found in greater abundance in New England than elsewhere throughout the Union, and that this condition is the result of religion; whilst Mr. Latrobe goes so far as to trace the superior character of the people there, to the greater infusion of Old English blood in the veins of the people, and a closer linking to the constitution of the mother country.
We think that hurried as this sketch has been, and hastily as its parts have been thrown together, and scanty as our space is for the development of so fertile a subject, we have at least shewn, once more, that they who point to America as the model of excellence, and refer us to her on all occasions, whensoever the spirit of change troubles their dreams of ambition, are deserving of no better protection than is afforded them in a land where, it is certain, a struggle is not far off, which will visit the evils of democracy most bitterly on the heads of its advocates, and prove that they who reject the defence of God's law, and " make" creeds and covenants for themselves, will too surely rue their folly and ambition. But even if America pass through the ordeal which must try her, and escape in safety and peace to a more prosperous unity than she at present rejoices in, what is there, we would ask, which can lead men of reading, observation, and intellect, to wish to uproot the venerable oak of British honour and British liberty to make way for the parasite that has derived all its nourishment from that hoary stem, and to transplant into its place a scion from beyond the sea, whose only strength, and only recommendation are, that it once was severed from the parent trunk, which, in an evil hour, we are commanded to cut down to please the speculator and the enemy, the spoiler and the infidel 1
Art. III.—Sermons, Doctrinal and Practical, illustrative of Christian Faith and Practice. By Charles Champnes, M.A. Rector of St. George and St. Bololph, Billingsgate; Vicar of Wyrardisbury cum Langley, Bucks; and Chaplain to His Majesty, when Duke of Clarence. In Two Vols. London: Printed for the Author. 8vo. 1834. Pp. xx. 384; vii. 384.
We are anxious not to betray the confidence of our readers; and are, therefore, at all times slow in affixing our official "imprimatur" to books which are subjected to our examination, lest an unmerited approval should give a currency to them, which of themselves they could never hope to challenge. This wary and scrupulous judgment
we especially exercise when reviewing Sermons—a species of literature
fraught with remediless mischief on the one hand, or with unspeakable
advantages on the other. In this sacred department, we would "know
no man after the flesh :" here it is that we are solicitous to adopt, above
all things, the caution of the poet, ere we pronounce our sentence:
"Qualcm commendes, etiam atque etiara aspice; ne mox
The Christian Remembrancer makes no idle boast, when its readers are reminded of our uniform practice in this particular point. We appeal to our criticisms upon the respective sermons of Irving, Melvill, Close, Arnold, and M'Neile, for proof of the painful fidelity with which we have been wont to fulfil our obligations, and of the chariness with which we have addressed to sermon-writers our "Pulchre, bene, recti."^ "Corrige sodes hoe et hoe,"\ has rather been our counsel to divines whose discourses it has been our province to examine. It is, therefore, with satisfaction that we are enabled to recommend Mr. Champnes' volumes as a sample of pious, orthodox, and instructive sermons, whose paucce maculae are abundantly redeemed by multitudinous merits. His volumes display a familiar acquaintance with holy writ,—an affectionate desire to edify his hearers,—a simplicity of manner, which cannot fail to captivate, and a cogency of argument, which must carry conviction to the heart. Our author is, indeed, "a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." He is characterised by no lust of paradox. He is deformed by no pedantic sesquipedalities. He never disgusts us by the coarseness of vulgarity. He never attempts to mislead us by the image of eloquent sophistry, or to infect our hearts with the fever of a false enthusiasm! He no where exalts the doctrines of Christianity to the disparagement of her moral injunctions: nor yet is he so far forgetful of his responsibility as a preacher of the gospel, as to divorce faith from works, which God has joined together, and forbidden to be "put asunder." "Christ crucified" is the great theme of his volumes; and the "dutiful necessity" of a holy life the uniform burden of his truly pastoral exhortations. The volumes contain twenty-four sermons, from the doctrinal and the practical parts of which we proceed to furnish our extracts: and if we begin with doctrinal matter, it is not, our readers may be assured, that we are actuated with undue preference of these points over the plain obligations of practice; only we would give precedency to faith as the only source whence good works acceptably flow. The efficacious mediation of Christ is a doctrine which lies at the very foundation of Christianity, and is, therefore, peculiarly worthy of the notice of theologians, that they may
* Horat. Epist. Lib. I. Ep. 18. T. 76, 77.